A novel, aseptic closed system vitrification (VTF) technique for the cryopreservation of embryos and oocytes has been developed and clinically validated in this study. It combines the practicality of embryo-containing sterile flexipettes stored safely and securely with 0.3 ml CBS™ embryo straws possessing weld seals. The cooling and warming rates of this double container system were determined using a data logger. Upon direct plunging into LN(2), the flexipettes cool at an average rate of 1391°C/min, while warming occurs at an average rate of 6233°C/min in a 37°C 0.5 M sucrose bath. Direct deposition of the flexipette into a warming bath insured a rapid transition between -100 and -60°C to minimize potentially harmful recrystalization associated with devitrification. In conclusion, the μS-VTF system has exhibited higher (p<0.05) intact survival, implantation and live birth rates than conventional slow freezing methods. The effective embryo transfer of vitrified blastocysts proved similar to or better than fresh embryo transfer outcomes. The sustained clinical use of μS-VTF has justified a change in our infertility practice. Capsule: The microSecure vitrification (μS-VTF) procedure is a low-cost, non-commercial, aseptic, closed system that offers technical simplicity and repeatability, while effectively attaining an estimated 4:1 warming-to-cooling rate ratio, which supports excellent embryo survival and sustained viability.
Keywords: Aseptic vitrification; Cooling rates; Embryos; Oocytes; Validation; Warming rates.
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